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BT : accused of ignoring needs of rural areas

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11/10/2017 | 06:44pm CET

communications company BT has been accused of ignoring the needs of customers in more rural areas.

Retired farmer Fraser Skinner, who lives at Easter Kinkell in the Black Isle, received a promotional call from BT offering him a reduction on the cost of his landline.

But the cut was only available to broadband customers and BT could not provide him with a broadband service, he said.

Mr Skinner accused the company of operating a "two-tier" system and only wanting the lucrative business, ignoring more rural areas.

He said: "If they've got this money to offer people discounts, they've got money in the pot to provide a service to areas where there isn't one at present."

bt hit back, saying it was continuing to bring fibre broadband to rural communities around Scotland, though it admitted there were problems "in individual cases".

Ferintosh Community Council chairman Colin Lawrence said: "It's clear that BT has been prioritising the more densely populated areas for its broadband rollout.

"This is evidenced by the fact that there are now fibre broadband cabinets in Muir of Ord, Conon Bridge and Culbokie, but not in the less densely populated locations.

"At a recent meeting with BT I raised the issue of it offering services it can't deliver.

"I was told that this shouldn't happen because BT was able to identify its potential service level by reference to individual phone lines.

"I pointed out that, be that as it may, BT was still offering its customers services it can't provide.

"It seems to me that BT is either unable or unwilling to form an effective link between its technical and sales teams."

A BT group spokeswoman denied the company was ignoring rural areas.

She said: "BT offers broadband services to households and businesses right across Scotland.

"All of our mainland exchanges are upgraded for ADSL broadband, with the rollout of high-speed fibre services ongoing, and about 2.2 million premises are now able to order these new, faster services.

"Openreach is also continuing to bring fibre broadband to rural communities around Scotland as part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout with the public sector.

"This has now reached more than 800,000 properties across the country, with latest upgrades in places such as Lairg, Melvich, Birsay, Gairloch and Ollaberry."

She said BT Group had invested £126 million in the Digital Scotland rollout.

She said: "No other company is doing as much to provide broadband to rural parts of Scotland.

"In some individual cases there may be technical issues affecting the provision of a stable broadband service, such as the distance of the property from the existing telecommunications infrastructure, and we'll look to investigate this case further."

* What's your view? Email us at [email protected]

© Copyright 2017 Scottish Provincial Press Ltd., All rights reserved., source Newspapers

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